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How jobs will determine the US election

Last updated on: November 5, 2012 15:33 IST

How jobs will determine the US election

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Shaili Chopra

Jobs are going to determine this US Election. As close as it may get in polls, debates, by gender votes or the fiscal deficit, the verdict is clear that the singular reason which will ensure the White House to either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney is nothing but the job market.

Senior Journalist Shaili Chopra reports from the United States on a race that promises to be too close for comfort.

The latest report, out Friday and the last before the final voting on November 6th, shows US economy added 171,000 jobs higher than the 125,000 expected.

In normal course, this wouldn't be called a critical report but it's very important since it comes as a final hour 'economy check' of sorts.

The report carries tremendous weight in reflecting its trajectory in recovery.

The monthly report shows a growing trend in jobs.

Data as usual can be spliced and interpreted as per convenience and so Obama calls it a slow but sure trend while these job additions by Romney are criticised on the basis on quality of work available to Americans being poorer than before.

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Image: President Barack Obama (L) and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney share a laugh at the end of the first presidential debate in Denver.
Photographs: Jason Reed/Reuters

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How jobs will determine the US election

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Whatever the case, the undecided voters know that neither Romney or Obama can overnight bring vibrancy to a market-determined job market.

So for the analysts and economists, both may be as good or bad as each other in their promises.

Here are the three things to watch out for, for that tiny sliver of voters who can tilt this really close election.

Who can create more jobs? 

Obama or Romney?

Actually none.

Warren Buffett has gone on the record to the say it's the economy that will help jobs not either of the candidates.

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Image: Protester Victoria Marquez wears a hard hat with the message to put Americans back to work.
Photographs: David McNew/Reuters

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How jobs will determine the US election

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And the good news is that the US economy is slowly but surely coming back.

Romney's put out a 59-point plan while Obama has 41 bullet points in his.

Who cares?

Mitt Romney has touted a figure of 12 million jobs that he hopes to create once made President.

Almost all of these, he believes will be generated by the private sector.

That's clearly not possible.

Socialist streaks in Obama's public-sector led hiring plan has a big question mark on how effective and mass it can be even though it's likely to be quicker than a private-investment driven formula.

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Photographs: Rick Wilking/Reuters
Tags: Mitt Romney , Obama , US

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How jobs will determine the US election

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2. Outsourcing Is Not At Fault

I think both Romney and Obama are belling the wrong cat. Outsourcing is a reality and to curse India and China is undynamic in a globalised world.

For an emerging market world, the US President is the epitome of capitalism and globalisation and to put that under scrutiny will be a huge embarrassment and let-down for America's free-enterprise principles.

If Obama and Romney can both look at outsourcing smartly, perhaps a certain nature of high-skill, high-value jobs can still be created across United States of America. 

NY Times Journalist, Thomas Friedman, called outsourcing is 'the boogie-man' that comes up as rhetoric every four years.

By now even America knows how to ignore statements of banning companies moving jobs to emerging markets.

Let's not forget, Americans are far too used to paying made-in-China/India/Bangladesh prices.

The last thing this consumer economy needs are pricey products.

Eventually and surely, America wants to keep both India and China in mind as markets that it will court for high-skill and high-value services that will bring the US access and clout.

The two candidates, no matter what they say (China manipulator, India job-stealer etc) are unlikely to forget this.

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Image: The White House.
Photographs: Reuters

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3. 'How' can jobs really be created?

Romney is always blaming Obama for the high unemployment rate Obama doesn't stop talking of Romney's Bain Capital past as an outsourcer. 

Instead of constantly taking jabs at each other, it would help if both Romney and Obama take their job-creation pitch to actually tell their voter HOW more work can be generated.

One argument is that higher investment in infrastructure, public sector can create jobs.

America needs to return to investment mode and boost work options in ports, manufacturing and services such as teachers, police and nurses.

Romney has used the line that building private enterprise will eventually create more jobs because private businesses that run factories.

In America's history it would probably be true that industry has added more jobs than politicians?

Economists believe both private and public jobs together could help solve the jobs issue and not just either or.

The photograph is used for represntation purpose only

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Image: An outsourcing unit in India.


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Another argument takes the tax cut route.

Whether they are an extension of Bush-era taxes or even incentives to firms that hire more -- any reasonable formula can support job creation.

America also has a vibrant small business community which can build on the jobs deficit given a path to growth. 

In the final lap, Obama has accused Romney of trying to 'scare up votes' and 'massaging the facts' while Romney has accused Obama of 'weakness abroad.'

The jobs story is a case of seeing the glass half full or empty.

It's also not about who is great for America but who is less worse.

For the undecided voter, this is is no longer an economic decision, it's an emotional one. 

Shaili Chopra is a senior TV journalist travelling across the United States getting a pulse on this historic ELECTION 2012.


Image: A view of the Times Square in New York.
Photographs: Michael Nagle/Reuters

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